Percorso di Oderisio da Benevento

Author: Francesco Aceto

The artistic path of Oderisio da Benevento

Oderisio da Benevento is known for having signed the bronze doors of S. Giovanni Battista delle Monache at Capua (1122), the cathedral at Troia (1127) and the oratory of S. Bartolomeo at Benevento (1150-1151). There are also some convincing reasons to identify the same master with the male figure holding a pointed stylus along with the inscription ‘Oderisius’, who is depicted on a panel of another bronze door for the main portal of the cathedral at Troia (1119). Of all these signed works, only the two bronze doors at Troia survive today. Three doorknoc­kers from the Treasury of the church of S. Cri­stina at Sepino, near Benevento, can be attri­buted to Oderisio for their stylistic consonance with the 1119 door.
The main issue for the reconstruction of the artistic personality of Oderisio, who is clearly oriented towards the Romanesque style, consists in the higher inventiveness he showed in the reliefs of his earliest work at Troia compared to the rest of his catalogue.
As argued by Pietro Toesca, these differences urge to reconsider the role played by the Bene­ventan caster in the making of the 1119 door at Troia, where he is portrayed together with a mysterious figure, identified by the inscription as ‘Berardus’. The author of this article believes that Berardus, a name of German origins, was the designer and the caster of the most difficult and unusual elements of the door, as well as the mentor of a stylistic change in Oderisio. The often-misunderstood damascened figures attri­buted to the latter clearly testify to his interest for the art of Northern Europe.